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Cantor Says McCain Will Have to Work For VA

Tim Craig

U.S. Rep. Eric I. Cantor (R-Va) said today that Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, will have to work hard to make sure the Democratic presidential candidate doesn't win Virginia's 13 electoral votes in the fall.

"I'm just worried, given the track record our party has demonstrated over the past three statewide elections, we've got some work to do," said Cantor, referring to Democrats' success in winning the last two governor's races and the 2006 U.S. Senate race.

But Cantor, the highest ranking Virginia Republican in the House, said he's confident McCain will pour resources into the state, which hasn't supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.

Cantor said McCain will reach out to voters who haven't traditionally been aligned with the GOP.

"This will not be a typical lets go after our base campaign," Cantor said in an interview. "This is going to be a campaign about cross-over voters, and John McCain is going to go after all constituencies, whether Republican or Democrat....He has a lot of appeal to voters in the middle."

Cantor, who is heading McCain's efforts to reach out to Jewish voters nationwide, said he thinks GOP ticket will pay particular attention to winning over independents in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, two areas that have been trending Democratic, while still racking up big margins in more Republican areas of the state.

In recent days, there has been increasing buzz about Cantor being on McCain's list of potential running mates.

The National Journal, citing anonymous sources, published an article today saying Cantor is "young, Southern, a solid conservative, telegenic, battle-tested, a big fundraiser, very loyal" and "can keep Virginia red."

Cantor called the speculation "humorous," but he didn't exactly close the door on the idea.

"It's just silly," Cantor added. "I'm just focused on winning this election and taking the majority in the House and John McCain is the way we do that."

By Tim Craig  |  April 25, 2008; 3:23 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig  
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It is unlikely that the GOP will win Virginia in November. As for Cantor keeping them in the red, think again. He is untested in his reelection efforts. He refused to debate the independent when one on one in 2004. That lack of spine will not yield him any credentials to earn a second-fiddle position on this year's sacrificial lamb nonimee team.

Posted by: Joseph Oddo | April 26, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Lever-pulling liberals will come out once again. Just a matter of when common sense will return. It is getting time for folks to teeter back to Republicans. This tax and spend (especially in Fairfax County) is getting ridiculous. How long will this auto-vote mentality for Democrats take to change (strange these cycles)?

Posted by: mbviews | April 28, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Why would anyone debate an "independent"? Losers.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 28, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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